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I’m dumping Kannywood —Al-Kanawy

Al-Kanawy, a popular screen writer, producer and director, told Sunday Trust that with his achievements so far in Kannywood, he has reached his peak and…

Al-Kanawy, a popular screen writer, producer and director, told Sunday Trust that with his achievements so far in Kannywood, he has reached his peak and he has received an invitation to direct a film conceived and scripted in Nollywood.

“I have been invited by a good friend of mine to direct a Nollywood film. With this, I may probably be the first director in Kannywood to cross over to Nollywood. Even though we have Sani Mu’azu who has the experience of both industries, there is still a clear difference because he started from Nollywood before crossing to Kannywood while with me the reverse is the”, he said.

He also said that even though Nollywood was not his initial target, he considered being there an achievement and, therefore, worthwhile.

“Initially, my target was to get to Hollywood. But as a Muslim, one is has to accept whatever God has ordained. Therefore, it is okay by me and I feel it is an achievement for me to be invited to direct a film in Nollywood”, he said, adding that reaching the peak in Kannywood was as good as doing same in Nollywood, “because we use the same techniques, equipment and so on. The only difference is language”.

He added that he became known by showcasing himself and his ability at different national and international fora that brought filmmakers together.

“I made my way through packaging myself at platforms that brought us together with filmmakers from both within and beyond the shores of this country. At such fora, I made a lot of contributions and this led to making a lot of friends from other parts of the country and even the world at large. Through such efforts, my abilities became known to people”, he said.

Alkanawy said he knew he was going to face challenges and he was prepared to surmount them.

“The anticipated challenge of this new experience is the consciousness that I have to prove to the world that I am equal to the task and perform anywhere I find myself so long as it is within the world of filmmaking”, he said, adding: “Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), God has blessed me in such a way that my films are very successful. I am very proud that my films are successful in such a way that anyone who sinks his money in producing one does not only break even but makes real profit. I pray that that blessing will extend to Nollywood”.

He said the secret behind his success was that he took his time preparing and put in his best in all that he did.

Asked to give a clue on how his Nollywood film would look like, he said, “it is a political film that will feature both northern and southern actors, and the reason is very simple: it because the producers don’t want a situation whereby an Igbo man will imitate a Hausa man or vice versa. We want the actors to be as real as possible”.

He however declined to give more information on the film, saying, “People will come to know more about the film, the actor, the producers, etc. in due course”.

Al-Kanawy said his zeal for reading and writing prompted him to venture into filmmaking over 10 years ago. “When I was a child, my grandmother and other elderly women in our house used to tell us folktales (tatsuniya). I was an ardent listener and from that, I developed the habit of reading and later picked up writing as a hobby too.

“In addition to that, I also got inspired by my Islamic classes where we were taught a lot of religious history. Before long, I had read all the Hausa books I could lay my hands on. These included Magana Jari Ce, Ruwan Bagaja, Iliya Dan Mai Karfi, Sihirtaccen Gari, Daji Bakwai, Kulba Na Barna, Magana Zaran Bunu and the likes”, he said.

He added that he started his writing career with short stories. “Years later, I met Alhaji Bashir Yakasai, who was then working with the state television, and told him I was interested in acting. He advised me to develop my skills in writing, which I did. I started with a script for a TV drama with the guidance of Yakasai during the late ’80s through and by 1995, I started writing film for film”, he said.

As time went by, in addition to being a script writer, he became a camera assistant, assistant camera man, camera man, director and producer in the Hausa film industry.

Al-Kanawy recalled that his first draft was the script of Hajiya, a film produced by Ibrahim Mohammed that has never been released for reasons he couldn’t tell. So far, he has written 20 screenplays.

He directed a number of films including Wata Rana, Farhan, Bahijjah, Kishiya, Tsalle Daya among others. Al-Kanawy has also produced films such as Gashin Kuma, Fallasa, Buri and Aisha.

His films, he said, are unique “in such a way that they focus mainly on women issues with a view of pointing out that men and women have been created different by the Almighty and therefore have different roles to play. Here, I must emphasise that I don’t buy the idea that what a man can do, a woman can do better. To me, both have limitations as to what they can do in the roles of others”.

In his quest to excel in filmmaking, Al-Kanawy has won several awards, among which are, best director in Kano state award (2005) and best African director (2006). One of the films he directed, the controversial Tsintsiya, won the best film of the year 2007.